White House aide Sebastian Gorka took a break from chewing out his critics to tell the audience Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the United States government should work to quash the ideology of “jihad” both abroad and at home.
Gorka said that the U.S. will make “the black flag of jihad” as “repugnant” as the Nazi flag.
“The brand of jihad has to be destroyed,” he said, adding that it must be “vilified” in America as well as in the Middle East.
Gorka, a former editor at Breitbart News who’s viewed as a fringe figure in Washington by the counterterrorism community, has been the mouthpiece for President Donald Trump’s foreign policy in recent weeks. He’s repeated that the U.S. must defeat “radical Islam” and said in the past that accepting Muslim refugees would be “national suicide.” Islamophobia experts have expressed concern that Gorka’s framing of the fight against the Islamic State in religious terms fuels the terror group’s narrative of a war between East and West.
During the panel discussion at CPAC, Gorka complained that it is the “cheapest shot” to call someone Islamophobic, and added that anyone who does not believe in the U.S. Constitution, no matter their affiliation, is “a threat to all Americans.”
He argued that ideology can and must be defeated, citing Ronald Reagan’s “tear down this wall” declaration in the 1980s as an example.
“Ideas can be defeated —especially bad ones,” he said.
He also described the Trump administration’s plans for foreign policy, saying that the President must “rebuild all the relationships that were broken the last eight years.”
But Trump is not interested in “invading other counties,” he said, arguing that doing so would be “un-American.”
“We want to help those people who want to be our friends to fight their wars for themselves,” Gorka said.
He also boasted about how much Trump loves the military, telling the audience that the President recently invited 18 future green berets into the Oval Office for a photo op.
“That’s how much he loves our military,” Gorka said, adding that the future green berets “wouldn’t have even gotten into the West Wing” while President Barack Obama was in office.